What to pack in your hospital bag

Your caregiver will probably want you to pack a hospital bag at least a month before you are due in case that you go into early labor. Yes this is helpful but I always feel that the extra time is for me to keep adding things that I "forgot" to add in the original packing.  These are my essentials for a hospital/birthing center birth:

  • Your birth gear - aromatherapy, music player, birthing ball, etc. I didn't use any of this stuff. During my first birth, my doula brought it all but my future births were too short and I enjoyed chatting with my husband and mom in between contractions.
  • Plastic flip-flops - these are great during labor and during the showers post-partum.
  • Slippers or slipper socks - some facilities give these out. If you are a cold foot person, these will be convenient for you.
  • Lanolin - your facilities may give this out so ask during your hospital tour. You put a very small amount on like lip balm after each of your nursings to prevent your nipples from being chap. This can be bought at any drug stores in the baby supplies section.
  • Soothies - your facilities may give this out so ask during your hospital tour. These are amazing to put against sore nipples! These can be bought at most drug stores in the baby supplies section.
  • Clock/phone - you will need a way to keep track of time for feedings.
  • Nursing book - bring your book with you so you can reference it as you learn and relearn to nurse. It takes a lot of practice.
  • Food and juice - these are for during labor (yes sneak it in if your facility doesn't allow it -- you need to keep you energy up!) and after labor. You will be starving after birth at it might end up being the middle of the night with no food around. Plus, while I nurse, I wake up at least once at night starving. I suggest trail mix, granola bars, nuts, crackers, whatever! Bring enough to share with your support crew.
  • Incidentals - Lip balm, brush, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, belly oil (or whatever you use). 
  • For the trip home - clothes, underwear (they should give you some disposable underwear at the hospital - ask during your tour), pads (unless you want to go home in the hospital issued mega-pad), clothes to wear home, clothes for the baby to wear home (bring a newborn outfit and a 0-3 month outfit so you are set depending on what size baby you have).
  • Partner clothes - If you plan to have your partner spend the night with you, if they are coming straight from work or if they get messy during the birth, it is good to have an outfit for them in your bag.
  • Things to do - a journal, puzzle books, magazines, novel, etc. The baby will sleep a lot and hopefully you will get some nice personal time.
  • Pen and paper - to record nursings and notes to self.
  • Sibling toys - if you have other kids that will be visiting you, it is nice to have little presents or new coloring books for them to get excited about.
  • Note to Self - put a note on your hospital bag with list of last minute things that you need to add such as your phone, reading glasses, camera and power cords. You should also remind yourself to take off your jewelry because you don't want to have it in the hospital.

Do you have other kids? You should (oops, I have never done this) have a bag ready in advance for them. It would be helpful to have clothes, snacks, games, surprises, contact numbers and such so that if you need to drop them off quickly with someone you are ready. Maybe I will go and do this now...


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